New year fic! New Year fic! Completed last night at 11:27 PM!
Kakashi was fully aware of the fact that he's been staring at the wall calendar for the past forty-five minutes and still counting. In fact, he was perfectly aware that no decent man who was very well past the age of twenty-five (or twenty really, not that it really matters) would be found within the plaster walls of a small bachelor apartment, perched on a chair and staring at the aforementioned calendar. It was a very ordinary calendar, with the weekend printed in red, the weekdays in black and each month featuring varying female models with boobs far too big that it couldn't help but trigger the world 'silicon' followed by a mental ping! sound. To find such calendars within bachelor homes was not an uncommon thing; in fact there was a male version of the aforementioned calendar with anatomies too big that it was impossible to fit that size in to any local made underwear. Commando comes in to mind which was also followed by a mental ping! sound if the said bachelor happen to swing that way of the vine yard.
And Kakashi was still was staring.
While others might have viewed this calendar as a common and not-out-of-ordinary-daily-thing, Kakashi now saw it as monster that marked his days till New Year's Eve. This New Year should not have been any different from the other New Years that he watched for several years to pass. It should have been normal, in which he'd do the count down on his bed while in the midst of reading his new Icha-Icha book like every year, watch the fireworks from his window like every year and once it struck midnight, he'd pull out that old plastic flute-whistle that inflated a rolled paper with dangling bits at the end (one of the very few things he still kept from what his father had given him years ago) and blow hard at it once just like every damn year. Once that task was completed, he'd tuck away that flute-whistle in one of his drawers, settle back in bed and continue reading.
Ninja life was routine. His New Year Eves were routine, always was and always have been.
Kakashi was still staring at the wall-calendar and if one looked close enough, there was a hint of panic in his eyes that only ever seem to emerge if one of his comrades was dying in his arms, if someone was asking him about his deceased father, if Gai was within a twenty-meter-radius, if someone was asking him for a date or if someone was trying to rip his mask off (particularly if that person had a freakishly abnormal habits like Anko for example).
He had a problem that was getting bigger with every ticking minute. This problem came to his field of attention when five days ago, he returned from a mission with a lacerating wound on his entire arm and side that Shizune healed within two hours. He would have copied the technique used if he wasn't ready to take up hospital floor space from the blood loss. Shizune took note of his drowsy state and provided him with an influx of chakra energy, enough to last for an hour till he managed to get his soddy ass home, clean up and actually take up his bed space rather than any gravel or floor space. It was also at that moment did Shizune take note of his ungloved hand, to which she frowned and said:
"Oh, Kakashi-sensei, you have strange fortune lines on your hand. It seems that next year will be filled with a lot of rotten luck if you can't find someone to be with before New Year's count down. You know, it's mentally healthy to have a partner. Wouldn't want rotten luck all year round, right?"
At the end of Shizune's words, Kakashi found himself staring at her, blinking a few times with every ten-seconds-of-silence-intervals before finally nodding and saying quietly, "Right."
Normally, Kakashi didn't take random bullshit from anyone especially if said bullshit sounded anything close to unbelievably-stupid as to what Shizune just said. But it was the look of seriousness; humor completely gone and absolute worry and I-want-only-the-best-for-you expression painted on the heart shaped face of the hard working medic that made Kakashi's brain go on a panic-spree. Shizune was one of the few honest people Kakashi met and he knew the young woman wouldn't dare lie even it meant sitting on a pit of roasting coal. She was just one of those people that you'd believe immediately because she was just honest nice and cutely-petite that way.
So Kakashi did manage to get his tired self home, shower and lie in bed to rest, all the while thinking of what Shizune told him. He had to stare at his pale palm for a long time that entire night, sleep completely avoiding him until it dawned on him: he had but a few days and hours left till New Year's Eve and he was putting an entire year vulnerable to bad luck when he could have easily prevented so. He was put into complete unease by that simple prediction. While people didn't notice much, Kakashi was a very superstitious person.
When he was younger, after his father passed away, he was an innocent little thing with no guidance whatsoever and it was due to this slight ignorance of normal every-day-life functions that made him become a very quiet individual and take up wearing the mask to hide his expressions better. He never touched a girl's hand because he thought it'd make her pregnant; years later, Icha-Icha proved him wrong, so this particular superstition was mentally killed. But that didn't mean he got close to females either. He believed that black cats were good luck, and so every time he spotted one, he'd feed it. When he went to pray at a temple, he always avoided one particular step in which he (and many other Konoha citizens probably) believe would bring him bad luck and he's already been suffering that for several years already. Kakashi was very careful when he combed his hair (which morphed to a habit when he turned to an adult) in fear of dropping the comb and receiving upcoming disappointment. He never plays cards while sitting cross legged or having one of his dog-summons in the room. He carried an acorn in his nin-pouch around all the time because it'd give him long life; somewhere in his current worn nin-pouch, he carried that acorn somewhere.
Sometimes he wasn't aware of a belief until it was pointed out to him. Yes, he did toss salt over his shoulder when at a restaurant or before any meal; he managed to pull this off because he's not a genius ninja for nothing. He doesn't react when something is pointed out to him or if people stared at him strange (he was far too used to it already) so he just remains quiet, detached and dedicated to his work.
So a simple prediction like that made him do a complete double take; the fact that it was Shizune made his brain flip even more.
Five days ago, while staring at his hand and pouting at the idea of a year filled with shitty-luck, he came to the decision of countering the upcoming dilemma the best he can. It was a game against lady luck after all, and five days was a lot of time. He ingested a warm meal, dressed and headed for the local library to read up pick-up lines and how to ask a person for a date without feeling like loon and dying from brain-panic. One can imagine how he managed to pull off a silent heart attack, panic attack and lung-movement-malfunction while remaining conscious and alive after searching the entire library for titles or any content related to his problem. He tried the local book stores and broke in to some quietly (he's not Sharingan Kakashi for nothing and what bookstore closes at nine PM anyway?) and found it all to be in vain. If possible his panic grew a hundred fold. He returned home that night, feeling like he lost his limbs along with a few vital organs and slept for a few hours before getting up the next day to try to counter his soon-to-be-bad-fortune ahead.
He tried to ask Shizune out at first but when he saw her coming out of the hospital with Iwashi, thanking him for the lunch he made for her, his will popped like an over inflated balloon. Kurenai was with Asuma, and there was no way he'd ask Anko. Besides, he heard a rumor that Anko was busy having her wicked way with the scars on Ibiki's head; just which head, Kakashi didn't want to know. He spent the entire day gathering up the courage to ask females he knew out, including academy teachers and store keepers. The whole day passed like this and his last resort was Ayame at the Ichiraku. However, he found out that she wasn't available per se when he entered and found a Jounin at the mission desk smiling and reminding her of some sort of get together they had planned on the first day of the New Year.
Tired and sulky, he dropped himself on a stool, ordered a big bowl of beef ramen and drowned his depression in it.
He didn't sleep well that night.
And he hasn't been. Four days ago, he had to be away from the village to complete a mission. However this did not discourage him, seeing as how he returned home past sunset. He was intent on asking that nice sweet lady at the seamstress' place near the market but blinked to a dead stop in the middle of his roof hopping when he saw Raidou walking with Iruka down the street, both looking happy and casual up until Raidou wrapped an arm around Iruka's waist. Iruka actually giggled and leaned closer.
Kakashi was a very open minded person and it wasn't the fact that he was seeing to of his comrades together (and male ones at that) that disturbed him, it was the mere fact that they were happy together and that deep inside him, he truly wanted to have some of that happiness too. He wouldn't giggle openly like Iruka, but then all the same, he'd want some of that closeness.
Without him knowing so, Kakashi watched Raidou and Iruka whenever possible since his return from the mission in hopes of picking up some clues as to how to achieve their sort of happiness. While doing so, Kakashi rolled in his head a list of people that he liked. Unfortunately, most of them were already dead and just remembering them sent him in to a silent wave of depression, so he ended up lying in bed, wallowing in guilt till he fell asleep.
Three days ago, he went to get a big bottle of expensive sake after returning later in the afternoon from a mission and stood in his previous team's waiting place. He remembered memories of how he and his Genin/Chuunin team would listen to the lame jokes Yondaime would crack. It made him wish he laughed then, because now, staring at the old wooden pillars of the shrine entrance, he regrets a lot of things he didn't do back then. Uncorking the bottle of sake, he tossed half the contents around the area where Team Yondaime used to meet everyday since their formation. It was an act of his respect, since there wasn't any grave stone, and while the cenotaph lay available, it didn't hold as much memories as the shrine entrance did. The other half of the sake went to the grave of his father.
On that day, he achieved nothing
Two days ago, he berated himself for not doing anything the previous day. He remembered one time a long time ago, someone told him that the best way to tell some one that you cared was to give them some sort of token. The first thing that popped in to his mind was a copy of Icha-Icha, and it stayed in his head. He immediately went and bought the special edition that was signed and had a plastic cover around its hard cover. He carried it around with him and was half tempted to give it to someone he got along nicely with when he crossed paths with Gai.
"My eternal rival!" Gai greeted, thumbs, teeth and pose all in position. Kakashi made no reply and remained in his initial position of standing in the administration building hallway with Icha-Icha pressed against his chest casually. How did he manage to make it look casual was a mystery. "What are your plans for the much anticipated blossoming New Year?"
"Nothing." Kakashi said, blinking.
Gai laughed and placed his hands on his hips. "Fear not, my friend. If you so wish, you may join me and a couple of others at the bar. It will be a triumphantly stupendous count down yet this year!"
"No thanks." Kakashi said quickly, mind going in panic. He didn't like bars, he didn't like lots of people around him. And the fact that bar meant alcohol reminded him that he was lame when it came to alcohol-tolerance. "I have plans with someone."
Gai seemed to have loved the response Kakashi gave. "What brilliance! You and your partner are most welcome to join our count down! Don't hesitate! It will be a celebration filled with youthful spirits!" Laughing, Gai waved and left for what Kakashi could only assume to be a new assignment.
What Gai said made Kakashi bitter although hell would freeze over before he'd even admit he felt bitter because of Gai - Gai of all people! But he was bitter and it never went away. Because subconsciously somewhere, he knows Gai means well. And to see genuine happiness for him coming from Gai's face was just like tossing his entire Icha-Icha collection in to a pit of gnashing crocodiles. He'd chop his head off first before he even admitted this out loud. It Gai for goodness sakes!
The other day, Kakashi decided that he was just wasting his time and he should probably just face the entire upcoming year with bravery. He spent his entire day sulking quietly under his mask and completing his B-rank mission.
He returned about six hours ago and got his injury treated by Shizune.
"Kakashi, what's wrong?" Shizune asked, this time she was really worried.
Shizune frowned, treating the bruises on his back. "Something is bothering you. You look like you have the weight of the world on your shoulders. Everyone's been saying that."
Kakashi shrugged. "Nah. Just tired is all."
"You should relax you know. Found anyone for New Year yet?" Shizune handed Kakashi his shirt and vest and started to clear her equipment away.
Shizune looked at him then, peering, trying to figure him out. "There's a club party on New Year. They're doing the count down. Will you be going?"
"Maybe. Dunno. I don't drink anyway." Kakashi said, shrugging his dirty shirt on and fighting the urge to scratch at the itch on his back.
"Kakashi." Shizune sighed dejectedly.
"Thanks Shizune. Really." Kakashi smiled under the mask and gave Shizune a small salute.
Now, there he was, moping in his room while staring at the calendar. The Icha-Icha book he bought was on his dresser, untouched and waiting. Kakashi sighed, dropping his heads in his arms and lying down on his bed, staring at the ceiling. It was an hour to midnight and he could hear the partying several blocks down his complex. He didn't go because he didn't want to.
He didn't know for how long he lay there, staring at the ceiling until he heard the loud count down by a chorus of still sober shinobis and sat up to dig out the flute-whistle he kept in his drawer.
"... five! four! two! one! Happy New Year! ..."
Kakashi pulled his mask down and blew in to the flute whistle as hard as he could.
He found himself shutting his eyes tight, a flood of emotions whirling in his chest as he sucked in a breath and kept blowing at the flute-whistle as many times as he could before stopping and sagging against his pillow, staring at the wall.
"Happy new year." He mumbled and threw a pillow over his head and kept blowing at his flute-whistle, only they were short muffled and squished-sounding rather than the powerful ones earlier.
Troooot ... troooot ... troooot ... troooot ... troooot ... troooot ...
Kakashi kept blowing, the sound getting quieter and quieter with each blow of air. He stopped blowing at his flute-whistle when a knock sounded at his door. Automatically, he grabbed a towel from the foot of the bed threw it around his face and answered the door, rather surprised to find Genma standing there, staring at him like he had a dead ferret on his head.
"What was that funny sound?" Genma asked, blinking and shifting the paper bag weight he was carrying in his arms.
"What funny sound?"
"Sounded like a bad flute-whistle. Those kiddy things." Genma shrugged.
Kakashi blinked. "I don't know what you're talking about." Genma looked at him funny and made his way inside, leaving Kakashi to shut the door. "What are you doing?"
"Give it a rest Kakashi." Genma sighed, digging out trays of take-out sushi from the bag along with bottles of sake. "You've been moping around like a child."
"Was not." Kakashi stared.
"Uh-huh." Genma shrugged, not even looking up.
"I don't mope." Kakashi defended his pride.
Genma rolled his eyes at him and tossed him a sake cup to which Kakashi caught with ease. "Yeah, yeah. Us bunch have known you since you were a kid. Sit down and dig in."
Kakashi wasn't one to pass up free food so for once, he started thinking with his stomach (that was empty for several hours now) rather than his logic and pride and gobbled down the sushi, towel aside. Only when he was done eating and was handed with a cup full of sake did he notice that Genma ate very little.
"Why are you here?" Kakashi asked, chugging down the sake and wincing at the burn it left in his throat.
Genma shrugged. "No one should be alone at New Year's, you idiot."
Kakashi poured himself more sake, quickly getting light headed for being a low tolerant with alcohol. "Shouldn't you be at the bar party then?"
There was a long moment of silence before Genma replied. "I was talking about you, Kakashi."
Kakashi stared at him, cheeks flushed and blinking drowsily. "Uh. Okay." He reached for the side table and grabbed the Icha-Icha book, shoving it to Genma in his drunken frenzy. Not seeing what was in front of him clearly, he wasn't aware that he shoved book at Genma's nose.
"Happy new year." Kakashi slurred and curled on the floor asleep.
Genma stared at the book then at Kakashi. Maybe it was a good thing he listened to Shizune's advice to check up on Kakashi.
And seeing Kakashi's face asleep and snoring lightly, he just didn't have the heart to tell him somehow that it was a crazy joke from Shizune's part that she spoke of that premonition - which was utter bullshit to begin with. Genma lifted Kakashi to the bed and leaned against the wall, reading his present.
Now he knew for sure that Kakashi was superstitious. No way could he have missed how he threw that much salt over his shoulder. The mess was very visible on the floor itself.
"Hmmm. Nice book." Genma smirked while flipping a page and threading a hand through Kakashi's hair.
FIN (or TBC?)
I intended for this ficlet to be a humorous one, considering what whack the plot was. I dunno. Rereading it makes me feel that it's hanging and look how it ended up being depressing! Ugh! My bad … been in a foul mood for the past days.
Black cats are considered good luck in Japan apparently. Most of the superstitions mentioned above explained a lot by themselves. I think. I had to look some up online and just picked nice amusing ones.
Before fire can be blown at my direction, I'd like to say that I wanted to write Kakashi in a different way this time. Considering how bad his childhood was, I can only imagine how a parentless-genius could turn out to be. Must have used the chair to wash the dishes when papa-Sakumo died.
Anyway yah. I dunno. Should I toss more in to this story?
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE!